Monday, May 07, 2012

Catching up with Piner HS senior runner, Luis Luna...

The following interview was conducted by David Taylor of
Today we chat with Piner HS senior runner, Luis Luna (picture to the left courtesy of  He has been on the NorCal running map since his freshman year when he qualified to the California State Cross Country meet in the tough Division III race as an individual (16th place).  He improved to 2nd place as a sophomore finishing behind current Stanford University runner Erik Olson.  He had quite a junior season winning the NCS MOC XC meet and followed that up with a 5th place finish at the CA state track and field meet with a sub 9:00 effort at 8:55.43.  This past cross country season, Luna finished in 2nd place at NCS, 5th at the state meet and qualified for the Footlocker National meet.  He is one of 5 juniors in California returning this year with sub 9:00 3200m. times as we head into postseason.  

1. Three words that describe you and why? 
I thought that it would be better if I had Epi Nunez one of my best friends describe me because I was having trouble finding the right words, he knows me pretty well so I had him do it.   
Determined- because he will always run through any pain whether its burning hot or freezing cold to achieve his goals and finish his race on empty till he pukes his guts out.
Responsible- because he is always on time and never late to practice and takes control of the team when we are not doing what we are supposed to, like a leader should do.
Gutsy- Luis Luna is a runner with guts.  He is a very talented distance runner who will also challenge any sprinter in the 400 and and battle for the gold medal because that's who he is; he doesn't like to lose.

2. What does Passion mean to you, how does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life?
Passion to me means that you put your heart into everything you do, it doesn't matter if you hate, you still give it your best. You know you have passion towards running when you are sitting in 6th period waiting for the bell to ring so that you can head to the track for a workout.

3. How do you want to be remembered as a runner? An all-time great, a record breaker, or one of many? 
An example of something greater? I want to be remembered as a runner who gave it his best, who was always trying to help others succeed.

4. If you met an 8th grader transitioning into high school who dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice would you give to him?
The first thing that I would tell him or her would be to enjoy the sport of running.  Always make it fun and that it doesn't matter how fast you run, you should always give it your best. Then I would tell him or her that there are 2 keys to success, body and mind. I think running is 50% mental and 50% physical. It doesn't matter how mentally strong you are if you because if you aren't in shape then you won't run your best.  If you are in top shape but you can't push through the pain, you'll run ok but you won't achieve greatness.

5. Humility in all things...what does that phrase mean to you?
It means that you are humble at all times even when you break records.  It means that it doesn't matter how fast you are, you don't talk about it, you let the races speak for themselves. It means that you always congratulate the other runners whether they are faster than you or not.

6. Looking back, what has been the biggest challenge in your success as a did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge as a runner has been running and training without someone pushing me. It has been extremly difficult for me to run great times without having a runner or runners to chase or compete with during the majority of the races. I know that I'm not the only runner who has the same problem so I want to give props to all the runners who are running fast and are pushing through the pain even when they know they are going win.

7. What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field? 
My family loves soccer, so I played soccer and I still play sometimes with friends when I have free time. I stopped playing at the beginning of 9th grade because I was better at running.

8. How did you get your start in running?
I started running in 7th grade becuause some of my friends joined the track and field team and because my P.E teacher was also the coach and kept telling me to come out. She made me love the sport of running.  She always took us to road races and if I didn't have running shoes, she would find me a pair. She's a great coach, a great person and a great friend. If she reads this, I want to thank her for everything she did for me. Thank you Ms. Clark!

9. What were some of your highlights from your high school career so far? 
I have been very blessed to improve every year with this past xc season being the most succesful. I made it to Footlocker Nationals finishing in 30th place. I also got 5th place the CIF State Meet in Division III. The highlight of my junior year in track was getting 6th place in the 3200 at state with a time of 8:55. I also consider going to Nike Elite Running Camp because they took the top distance runners in the nation to an amazing camp at the Nike Headquaters in Portland.

10. What is your favorite racing moment thus far? 
So far, my favorite racing moment was when I ran 8:55 for the 3200 at the state meet. I got a pr, a school record, I had the second fastest time for an underclassman in the nation.  I beat some guys that I couldn't imagine beating before that race.

11. Tell us a little about your family and how they has helped you develop during your years in high school. 
At first, my parents didn't like the idea of me quiting soccer to run. I had been playing soccer my whole life and they enjoyed watching me play.  They also didn't know any thing about running so they weren't that interested until they saw that I was having fun and that I was good at it. They started to come to some of my meets and supported me which always motivated me to run faster.

12. 8:55 as a 16-year old, equates to 8:58 all-time mark for that age among legends such as Chapa, Ritz, Verzbicas...tell us about that race and what its like to be listed among those legends?
The race was very fast with 13 guys under 9:00 which pushed many of us to personal bests. I was in the middle of the pack during the first mile and in the second mile, it started to spread out a little bit more.  During the 6th and 7th lap, I started to slow down a bit and a couple of guys passed me but I was able to have a good kick and passed them back before the finish line. It felt great to make it on the American 16-year old 2 mile list. I never knew that there have been only ten 16 year old guys to run faster than me for two miles.

13. Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run? 
My favorite distance on the track is the 3200. My favorite Invitational is the Woody Wilson Invitational held at UC Davis. I don't have any favorite opponents but I do like racing agains guys that are faster then me because they push me to great times.

14. What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your track and field season? 
I'm looking foward for NCS Meet of Champions and CIF State Track and Field Meet.

15. Favorite running movie, running song, and favorite runner? 
My favorite running movie is Without Limits.  My favorite pre-race pump up song is Remember the Name.  My favorite runner is STEVE PREFONTAINE.

Here was my interview with Luis in 2010:

The age group distance records can be found at at the following link:!__nationaltrackrecords

Thank you very much for your time Luis!  AJC

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice interview. Sounds like a very humble person. Where will he be attending college next year?

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